External Wall Insulation: Wrapping it Up

Insulation prevents heat loss through the walls by slowing down the passage of heat from the warm areas of your house to the cold outside. 35% of heat is lost through poorly insulated walls. You can insulate your house by installing cavity wall, internal wall or external wall insulation. 


External wall insulation is becoming increasingly popular as an insulation measure on new and existing buildings. While cavity wall insulation is the cheapest and most convenient form of wall insulation, many homeowners are choosing external wall insulation as a stand-alone wall insulation measure or as an additional insulation measure to cavity wall insulation. 


External wall insulation (or EWI) is also known as ETICS (External Thermal Insulation Composite Systems) or the “wrap”. Insulation panels are fixed to the external wall of the building. The insulation is then finished with a rendering system that protects the building from impacts and the weather.  


Despite being more labour intensive, complex and expensive than cavity wall insulation, external wall insulation delivers wide ranging benefits to homeowners. Why would you choose EWI as an insulation method?

  1. If your house was built before 2006, you can avail of SEAI grants, saving you up to €6,000.
  2. You will have a home that is warmer, healthier and cheaper to heat. 
  3. In most cases, you don’t need planning permission to install external wall insulation. 
  4. There is minimal disruption to the residents. 
  5. Your building fabric will be stronger and have a greater lifespan after EWI installation. 
  6. If you in receipt of certain social welfare benefits and if your house’s cavity wall cannot be insulated and you do not have a stone house, you may be entitled to EWI under the Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme.


Grants and savings

There are sizeable grants available from the SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland) to insulate the external wall of your home if your home was built before 2006. 

The grants are not income-related or means tested. 

An apartment (or mid-terrace) can be awarded a grant value of €2,750.

A semi-detached (or end terrace) house can be awarded a grant value of €4,500.

A detached house can be awarded a grant value of €6,000.

There are additional grants for extra insulation measures which can be completed alongside the external wall insulation works. 


A warmer, healthier home with more money in your pocket

It is a highly effective form of insulation, significantly reducing heating bills and fossil fuel use. 

Your existing walls will function as a heat store, transferring heat back into rooms when your heating is turned off, further reducing your heating bill. 

An external wall insulation installation will effectively bring the energy efficiency of your external walls up to the standard of a newly built cavity wall. 

EWI prevents condensation internally, making the house healthier and more pleasant. 

If you live in a noisy neighbourhood, external wall insulation will reduce the noise levels permeating your walls. 

If your mind’s eye is on the next decade of onerous demands on households regarding fossil fuel reduction, you can combine cavity wall insulation with external wall insulation to exceed building regulation standards. 


No planning permission required

Most homeowners choose EWI finishes that do not significantly alter the appearance of your home. In this case, you will rarely need planning permission for external wall insulation.  


Very little disruption to residents during the work. 

While external wall insulation is a complex and labour intensive work to carry out, there is minimal disruption to the residents. All of the work is carried out from the outside of the house.


Better buildings

Any gaps or cracks in the facade of the building will be covered and any issues with pipework and drainage will be resolved as part of the installation, if they impact on the installation or performance of the external wall insulation. 

EWI is finished with a rendering system that comes in a variety of textures and colours. Your home will effectively be given a “facelift”. 

EWI requires both mechanical fixings and adhesive that strengthens the fabric of the building.

It improves the lifespan of the building itself as your walls are protected from the elements and from dampness entering the house. 

You should expect a 25 year industry approved guarantee on the work, giving you peace of mind on the quality of the work. With care and maintenance, external wall insulation has an attractive longevity for home owners. 

There is a significant increase in the level of airtightness and thermal efficiency of the building as the building is being “wrapped”. 

Free Insulation

The Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme provides free insulation to fuel poor households. It is funded by the SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland). Find out more about your entitlement to free insulation here.


There are some disadvantages to EWI. Where cost is a major consideration, it is an expensive insulation measure (approximately €120 per square meter) compared to CWI. While every house is different, for some home owners, the benefits are far greater. Where homes have no cavity wall, the only way to increase the thermal efficiency of the walls is to insulate either the internal wall of the building or the external wall. 


The increasing focus on energy efficiency in homes and the move to NZEB (nearly zero energy building) regulations means that homeowners need to consider the best insulation method not just for the short-term but also for decades to come. 


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